Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota, the skills-training nonprofit for the unemployed and disadvantaged, also is one fast-growing retailer. Retail sales, which help fund the nonprofit mission, grew 23 percent to $57.6 million last year.

And in November, St. Paul-based Goodwill and Wellington Management expect to open Goodwill’s first Minneapolis store, its 34th retail location, at the site of a vacant Perkins restaurant at 60th Street and Nicollet Avenue S. It took several months to gain neighborhood and city approvals for what will be Goodwill’s first two-level store.

“They’ve been looking for a Minneapolis site for five years,” said CEO Steve Wellington, who built a Goodwill store in Coon Rapids several years ago. “The city was cooperative, the neighbors helpful and we’re not getting any public subsidy.”

Wellington paid more than $1 million to acquire the dormant building and will spend $2.5 million-plus to build the new store and lease to Goodwill. The store, designed by DJR Architecture, will include a small parking lot, elevator and drive-through drop-off for donated clothing, furniture, electronics, housewares and toys. Thrift retailers, including ARC Value Village and Salvation Army, generally grew during the recession and took space from retrenching retailers in suburban malls.

Big savings at otter tail’s Big Stone

Upgrading the Big Stone coal power plant near Milbank, S.D., to meet air emissions standards is costing a lot less than projected, majority owner Otter Tail Power Co. said last week.

The Fergus Falls, Minn., utility that serves 129,000 customers in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota said the construction project, which began last month, is now expected to cost $405 million, a reduction of $86 million, or 17.5 percent, from the original budget.

In a regulatory filing, the company attributed the expected savings to prudent design changes, low bids in a buyer’s market, in-house project management and a lowered contingency reserve.

The retrofit of 475-megawatt plant will bring it in compliance with federal regulations, including those designed to reduce haze over Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

About $45 million has been spent at the plant, which is co-owned by NorthWestern Energy and Montana-Dakota Utilities, according to a filing with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

David Shaffer

Olson hired by TiVo

Minneapolis ad agency Olson last week was named agency of record for TiVo, the pioneering digital video recorder company that faces growing competition in the streaming world of home entertainment. TiVo was a moderate media spender of only $5 million last year, according to the trade journal Ad Age. It’s expected to increase that as it attempts to recapture its market mojo in the face of competitors such as Hulu, Roku and Apple. Olson will perform several duties, including traditional advertising, Web-based marketing, public relations and social engagement. “We were impressed by the breadth and depth of Olson’s ideas and their ability to seamlessly integrate the multiple aspects of our market differentiation and bold plans for the future,” said Doug Bieter, TiVo’s vice president of marketing. Olson recently added new accounts Belize Tourism Board and athletic shoe company Saucony.

David Phelps


Devry Boughner, Cargill’s chief free-trade lobbyist, will discuss open markets, truth and transparency to kick off Forum 2013 of the Hendrickson Institute For Ethical Leadership at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in Minneapolis on April 17. And Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, will address “Rocking the World Order: How Changing Politics, Economics and Geography Impact Us.” Ecolab CEO Doug Baker will accept the 2013 Hendrickson Medal for Ethical Leadership. More information:

The Center for Ethical Business Cultures, celebrating its 35th year, hosts an April 26 conference exploring corporate law and the history of corporate responsibility. The program was inspired by the fall 2012 publication of CEBC’s history, “Corporate Responsibility: The American Experience.” The program will feature national scholars and hosts Ron James of the CEBC and elders from the University of St. Thomas business and law schools. On April 30, CEBC will host Klaus Leisinger, chairman of the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development, to discuss challenges in a global economy and “complex social and ethical issues.” There will also be a panel that includes executives from Cargill and Land O’Lakes International Development. More information:

Country Inns & Suites by Carlson is going trendy. The 480-hotel chain, headquartered in Minnetonka, last week announced that it has partnered with Minneapolis native and HGTV star Genevieve Gorder to provide her design insights as Country Inns & Suites rebrands itself and develops a new hotel model. Gorder, a graduate of South High School, is well known in design circles for her work on “HGTV Design Star” and “Dear Genevieve.” “Genevieve’s unique ability to add both style and comfort to living spaces translates perfectly to the guest experience,” said Scott Meyer, senior vice president for the hotel group.